We continue our series of camp previews for select non-AQ schools.
Opening camp: Utah
Schedule: Practice starts today. First day in full pads is Aug. 10.
Sidelined: Defensive lineman Lei Talamaivao is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Wide receiver Martavious Lee and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei are out for the start of camp (academics). JC signee offensive lineman Po'u Palelei will enroll in January.
What’s new: Former Utah quarterback Brian Johnson is back, returning to coach his old position. Aaron Roderick was also promoted to co-offensive coordinator.
Key battle: Wide receiver. Coach Kyle Whittingham wants to see separation out of his receivers so they can get a good two-deep chart. Utah lost three of its top four receivers from a year ago, including leading pass-catcher David Reed. Jereme Brooks is back, but Luke Matthews, DeVonte Christopher and Shaky Smithson are going to have to step up.
New on the scene: Freshman tight end Westlee Tonga had a great spring game after enrolling in January following a church mission.
Breaking out: J.J. Williams. After starting for Utah in 2006, he went on a two-year church mission and returned last season. But he wasn’t in the best physical shape. Now he is, and he takes over the rover spot. Whittingham expects big plays out of him.
Don’t forget about: Conroy Black. The junior cornerback redshirted last season but is penciled in as a starter in a secondary that is missing three starters from last season. He is the fastest player on the team with 4.3 40-speed. Whittingham highlighted him as a player to watch.
Quoting: “Our teams in the past three or four years have been very good at staying focused and taking things one game at a time. That’s particularly important this year for obvious reasons.” -- Coach Kyle Whittingham.